Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Some Things That Work For Me When I’m Working From Home

In 2014 I took an early retirement from Springfield Technical Community College and started as a Co-Director for the National Science Foundation funded National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC: http://www.op-tec.org)

The OP-TEC position was a little complicated with offices in Waco, Texas and funding by NSF via The University of Central Florida in Orlando.  Most of my work was done out of my home office in Massachusetts with Waco meetings once a month for a few days.

Long story short (I wrote about my path to Holyoke Community College in an earlier post) in those 4.5 years I learned a lot about working from home and today, thanks to COVID-19, find myself back in that home office. Here’s a few tips that helped me adjust:
  •           Develop and stick to a daily routine. That means getting up in the morning and taking a shower, shaving, getting dressed for work, etc.
  •          Clock your time. This was a good way for me to know when I was overdoing it. I I use an app called Klok linked here https://getklok.com/klok/   
  •           If you have the room, make a dedicated space for your work preferably with a door. I have a tendency to spread out and using something like the kitchen table is tough if you need to pack it up every day. The door helps too – inside that room is work and work has defined hours. Close it when your work is done for the day!
  •           Get yourself a timer to assure you take regular breaks. I found the Pomodoro Technique time management method works well for me. The method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Some call these Tomato Timers – pomodoro is tomato in Italian. Here’s a free web based one that works well https://tomato-timer.com
  •           In addition to regular breaks be sure to take time for your regular meals. Take time, don't wolf down the food and hydrate with your meals.
  •           Don't go nuts with those snacks :) 
  •           Hydrate, especially with water. I have a tendency to hit the coffee machine a bit too much and have learned if I’ve always got a glass of water next to me I drink a lot more water and a lot less less coffee.
  •           Exercise. Maybe you have some equipment at home you can use. It is a great way to take a break and clear your mind. Taking walks (with social distancing under current situation) works well for me even if it is just to the mailbox and back. It is also a beautiful time of year to get outside.
Working and learning from home can be pretty stressful so getting into a routine is so important for faculty, students, etc. These tips have really helped me adjust again to the home office.

Hoping this thing is over soon and everyone stays safe and healthy.


Anonymous said...

Great advice Gordon!
Thank you,
Christine D

Gordon F Snyder Jr said...

Thanks Christine - hope all is well.